European Union leaders asked their foreign ministers on Tuesday to consider possible new sanctions on Russia in response to a rebel offensive in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reports. A final decision to impose them, however, is likely to be left to a summit next month.
Linas Linkevičius ES ministrų susitikime
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Foreign ministers have called an extraordinary meeting for Thursday after Kiev said 30 civilians were killed in shelling of the government-held port of Mariupol by pro-Russian rebels on Saturday, shattering a five-month ceasefire.

In a rare joint statement, the EU's 28 leaders voiced concern about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and condemned the killing of civilians in the "indiscriminate shelling" of Mariupol.

"In view of the worsening situation we ask (foreign ministers) to assess the situation and to consider any appropriate action, in particular on further restrictive measures, aiming at a swift and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements," they said.

The leaders said they would assess the situation at their next meeting in February.

The foreign ministers are likely to ask the European Commission on Thursday to prepare new sanctions against Russia, but the final decision on whether to implement them would be taken by EU leaders at their summit on 12 February, EU officials and diplomats said.

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